Every now and then, I hear something that catches my attention. It’s like the words stand out and dig deep inside of my heart and grab hold of it. Recently it was this, “Christ came NOT to prepare us for death but, to teach us how to live.” I guess this struck a personal chord with me because I believe it to be true and it pulls me into Advent in preparation for Christmas. When I think of Advent I can’t help but think of Mary. Her silence and witness has spoken so profoundly to me in the scriptures and in my heart. Try to imagine with me if you will, her culture at the time of the Annunciation. When every boy and girl studying the faith was awaiting the Messiah to come and every girl probably dreamed of them being “the one.” Mary being full of faith and deeply prayerful may not have been as surprised as we might have thought she was about an angel appearing to her. I mean she was waiting for it in some way her whole life. I have no doubt she prayerfully prepared for it she just didn’t know she would be the one. I mean do you ever really know? Can you ever fully prepare for something as profound as that? I remember preparing for my Grandparents death at 93 and 94 yet when it happened I was still not ready and grieved greatly. Perhaps, she fantasized about it like all the other girls, and maybe she let the thought pass because she was growing older and now betrothed to Joseph she thought the timing had passed her by and then was caught off guard when Gabriel appeared to her.
When she realized the fullness of what Gabriel shared with her, she had trouble making sense of it since she wasn’t yet married. When she questioned how it could be, and he told her the truth it still didn’t make sense to her for who could understand the ways of God? But with the heart of faith, she trusted without further questions and then got out of the way to let God take care of the mess and confusion to follow. Scripture tells us she proceeded in haste to see her cousin Elizabeth who was with child in her old age. For surely she thought Elizabeth would understand what had happened to her since she too had experienced God’s mighty miraculous hand. I think about that treacherous journey she made on hilly, stony, dark, and dangerous roads to see her. I wonder if she were alone and how anxious she was to reach her and I imagine her speaking to God in prayer the entire way. I picture her speaking words to Him similar to the ones in the song by Amy Grant, Breath of Heaven.
I wonder what it felt like for Mary having the breath of God
Implant the conception of Jesus in her womb, and I wonder how she and others were transformed by it. Scripture gives us an indication, a window into what it may have been like in Luke 1:44 when Elizabeth speaks to Mary of her baby John the Baptist saying, “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby leapt in my womb for joy.” Her very voice floated through the air into the ears of Elizabeth to the ears of the baby growing in her womb causing a reaction. I can only imagine how others may have been affected just being in her presence. She was the first tabernacle to hold the sacred vessel of our Lord. The gift from God that keeps on giving to us every day at every mass around the world where Jesus is rebirthed.
Christmas reminds me of how much God loves us that he entrusts us, like He did Mary, to become tabernacles of our Lord every time we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist at Mass, and then we disperse to carry Him into the world to transform it like she did. We as Christians are to live the teachings of this example, but how often do we realize the importance of this task? The best gift in all the world is given to us repeatedly making Christmas every day of the year. Will we unwrap this precious gift and live Christmas every day of our lives? Will we be the light in the darkness, salt of the earth, and a beacon of hope to the hopeless? Advent is the time when we ponder like Mary all these things within our heart and trust God to multiply our efforts as we respond to His call.
I wish each of you a blessed and Merry Christmas. I pray for you to have a prosperous and spiritual New Year in 2018 and I thank you for journeying with me through the readings on my blog.
Pax et Bonum, Dawn